I heard about the plane crash a week or so ago and that they had called off a search and rescue attempt a few days later and now the full story has been revealed:
Had a lesser pilot been at the controls of Bluetail 601 last Wednesday, there might have been four memorial services this week instead of one.
But Lt. Miroslav “Steve” Zilberman was one of two pilots in the cockpit of the E-2C Hawkeye as it returned from a mission over Afghanistan, heading toward the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower in the North Arabian Sea.
The Ukrainian-born junior officer had distinguished himself during three years with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 121. He knew the plane – and its training manual – inside and out.
So after one engine lost oil pressure and then failed completely; after one propeller couldn’t be adjusted to balance the plane; after it was clear that there was no way to safely land, Zilberman ordered his crew to bail out.
He manually kept the Hawkeye stable as it plummeted toward the water, which allowed the three other men to escape.
Time ran out before he could follow.
Zilberman, 31, was declared dead three days later.